HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2074

TWENTY-SEVENTH LEGISLATURE, 2014

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO VETERANS.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


     SECTION 1.  The legislature finds that the State of Hawaii has an opportunity to meet a growing community need: long-term care resources.  The number of aging baby-boomers continues to increase, not only in the State of Hawaii, but across the nation.  Increasing advancements in medical science and technology have also resulted in citizens in our communities living longer.  As such, the number of residents needing long-term care has grown exponentially and includes an ever-growing veterans population.  This has resulted in a significant shortage of long-term care facilities statewide.

     Through the efforts of our congressional delegation, particularly the late Senator Daniel K. Inouye, steps were initiated to address some of these long-term care needs, particularly for those who provided military service to our country.  In 2004, the State built its first veterans home in Hilo, Hawaii, naming it in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Yukio Okutsu.  The cost for completing this ninety-five-bed capacity nursing care facility, a cost which included planning, design, and construction costs, as well as expenditures for equipment, furnishings, and interior decoration, was $45,000,000.  Sixty-five per cent of these costs were paid for using federal funds acquired through the Department of Veterans Affairs with the legislature providing the remaining thirty-five per cent.

     The Yukio Okutsu state veterans home is owned and licensed by the State and managed by contract with oversight provided by the Hawaii health systems corporation.  There is no operational or maintenance cost to the State.  Those who are eligible for residency in the home include honorably discharged veterans, their spouses, and Gold Star parents who are disabled by age or disease, or those incapable of earning a living due to disability.  Services include domiciliary, nursing home, and adult day health care.  Eligible individuals residing in a state veterans home also receive a federal per diem allowance of $94 per day with veterans who are one hundred per cent disabled receiving a higher per diem allowance.

     With approximately one hundred twenty thousand veterans in Hawaii, forty-four thousand of whom are over the age of sixty-five, and a shortfall of one hundred seventy-three long-term care beds, Hawaii's veterans would greatly benefit from the development of another facility to address their long-term care needs.

     At the time the Yukio Okutsu state veterans home was built, Hawaii was one of three states in the nation that did not possess a state veterans home.  Consequently, the Veterans Affairs grant application for Hawaii's first veterans home received priority consideration, and the project rose to the number one position on the federal funding list.

     The Department of Veterans Affairs distributes approximately $85,000,000 annually to assist states with providing state veterans homes.  With a shortfall of one hundred seventy-three beds, an increasingly aging veteran population, and the general growth of the population of veterans in Hawaii due to the drawdown of troops in Iraq in 2011 and the forthcoming pullout of troops from Afghanistan in 2014, the State can make a strong case to receive federal funds to build an additional veterans home based on need.  Furthermore, there is expected to be a need for additional long-term care facilities and services for veterans in the near future since the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that, across the nation, over one million members of the armed services will become veterans within the next five years.

     The building of a state veterans home also has economic benefits to the State.  The building of the Yukio Okutsu state veterans home resulted in an economic boost from the creation of construction and other jobs, as well as the need for support positions, including physicians, social workers, and nurses.  Businesses on Hawaii island also saw an economic boost through the provision of materials and the initiation of long-term contracts.

     In addition, educational benefits can also be realized through the building of a veterans facility.  The Yukio Okutsu state veterans home cooperates with the department of nursing at the University of Hawaii at Hilo to provide expanded clinical and professional experience for nursing students.  The building of an additional veterans long-term care facility would provide a similar benefit fostering the establishment of medical and educational relationships and mutual support in the community in which the facility is built.

     The purpose of this Act is to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds for the construction of a veterans long-term care facility.

     SECTION 2.  The director of finance is authorized to issue general obligation bonds in the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary and the same sum or so much thereof as may be necessary is appropriated for fiscal year 2014-2015 for the purpose of funding the State's portion of construction of a one hundred seventy-three bed veterans long-term care facility; provided that no bond issuance shall be made unless the federal government appropriates     per cent of the funds needed to complete the facility.

     SECTION 3.  The appropriation made for the capital improvement project authorized by this Act shall not lapse at the end of the fiscal biennium for which the appropriation is made; provided that all moneys from the appropriation unencumbered as of June 30, 2016, shall lapse as of that date.

     SECTION 4.  The sum appropriated shall be expended by the Hawaii health systems corporation for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 5.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2050.


 


 

Report Title:

Long-term Care Facility; Veterans; General Obligation Bonds

 

Description:

Authorizes the issuance of GO bonds for the construction of a long-term care facility for veterans contingent upon the receipt of federal funds.  Effective 7/1/2050.  (SD1)

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.